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From Thursday (1st October) M&S Food will have completely eliminated soya from the production of all its milk as part of our commitment to end deforestation

We've worked with the 44 British farmers producing M&S RSPCA Assured milk to replace soya feed with alternatives such as rapeseed oil and sugar beet—which are as nutritious and healthy as soya —avoiding nearly 4,000 tonnes of soya being used each year. 

The move marks an important milestone as part of our goal to ensure zero deforestation from the production of out products, as we continue exploring solutions for more sustainable animal feed across its wider supply chain. 

This is part of the M&S innovation programme, which includes a strong focus on diversification of feed from soy, including looking at alternative proteins and different feed formulations. We plan to do more in this area over the coming months.  

Paul Willgoss, M&S Food’s Director of Technology, said: 

“Soya is widely used in animal feed across the industry because it’s fast-growing and protein-rich, but we’re all aware of the devastating impact its use is having on Brazilian forests. Our absolute priority as a business is to eliminate deforestation from the production of our products and to get there, we’re looking at both reducing our reliance on soya and finding more responsible ways of sourcing it. We’re incredibly proud of the team’s hard work to move 100% of the animal feed in our milk supply chain to high-performing soya alternatives. This marks a critical step in our journey as we continue working to play our part in ending deforestation.” 

Dr Emma Keller, Head of Food Commodities at WWF said: 

“We’ve become overly dependent on protein-rich soy to feed our food – at huge cost to nature in precious places like the Brazilian Amazon and neighbouring Cerrado. 

“It matters that M&S is stepping up its commitment, because if we transform the way we produce food and change what we choose to eat we can turn things around for the health of our planet. We want to see food companies make the soy they use more sustainable but also to diversify and reduce dependence on single commodities.”

Alongside working collaboratively with other retailers, organisations and NGOs such as WWF to address the challenges of responsible soy, M&S aims to ensure 100% of  the soya used for its products is sourced  through approved or recognised sustainable soya schemes, including the Round Table for Responsible Soy (RTRS) and Proterra, by the end of 2020. 

M&S is continuing to work towards its zero-deforestation pledge, which covers ingredients including soya and palm oil, wood and paper and textiles made from wood pulp.

—ENDS—


For further information email Corporate.Press@marks-and-spencer.com


Notes to Editors

About M&S’s plan to protect our forests: 

Overview:

  1. Forests are a vitally important ecosystem – they regulate our climate, protect water supplies and provide a home for people, plants and animals. Yet it’s believed that half the world’s forests have already been cut down and deforestation is continuing at a rapid rate.
  2. At M&S we want to play our part in protecting the world’s forests for the future and we have a clear goal to eliminate deforestation from the production of palm oil, soy, meat and wood in M&S products. We’ve been working with our suppliers for over a decade, focusing on products that use soy and palm oil, textiles made from wood pulp and other wood and paper products.
  3. Ending deforestation is a big global challenge that can only be solved by retailers, producers and governments coming together.

Supporting more sustainable palm oil

  1. Palm oil is the world’s most popular vegetable oil because it is an incredibly versatile ingredient that is very efficient to grow. However, huge areas of tropical rainforest and peatland have been lost due to palm oil production. This is bad news for endangered species like orangutan and bad news for efforts to combat climate change.
  2. We use less than 0.0001% of the world’s palm oil for our products but we still want to play our part in helping change palm oil production for the better. That’s why 100% of the palm oil we use is certified responsibly sourced by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) – a global non-profit organisation working to improve palm oil production to protect biodiversity and forests and safeguard human rights. Our progress on sourcing sustainable palm oil has recently been recognised by WWF’s Palm Oil Scorecard, in which we were ranked the number one UK retailer.
  3. We don’t think that boycotting palm oil is the answer, because alternative vegetable oils also come with sustainability challenges and require more land to grow. We believe we can have more impact by helping improve standards across the palm oil sector, for example we helped found the Retail Palm Oil Transparency Coalition and we’re members of the Tropical Forests Alliance, the Consumer Goods Forum and the Retail Palm Oil Group – all working to bring about change.

A better approach to soy production

  1. Soy is widely used across food supply chains, mainly as animal feed. Brazil is one of the world’s major producers and growing demand for soy has lead to deforestation in regions such as the Amazon and the Cerrado.
  2. We’ve had a responsible sourcing programme for soy for many years and we put in place clear requirements for our suppliers. We believe collaboration is key to finding solutions to our biggest challenges, so we work with NGOs and the wider industry in groups such as the UK Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) and the Consumer Good Forum. As members of the RTRS, we’re helping to support the production of responsible soy and we were the first retailer to commit to buying its credits.
  3. Now we want to go even further. We’re exploring alternatives to soy-based animal feed as well as working with suppliers and others to help increase the availability of deforestation-free soy.  

Textiles derived from trees

  1. Many of the textile fibres we use, such as viscose, rayon, lyocell and modal come from trees. The wood is pulped and then undergoes a chemical process to transform it into fibres.
  2. Viscose is one of the top three raw materials used in our clothing and we source 11,000 tonnes of it a year. So it’s really important to us that it’s produced responsibly and legally and doesn’t come from ancient and endangered forests or endangered species habitat. That’s why we only source from suppliers who have been independently audited and can prove that their wood pulp meets our leading standards. We’re transparent about our supply chain and recently added our viscose and cellulose materials suppliers to our interactive supplier map.
  3. But we’re not stopping there. We’re exploring how we can use alternative fibres with a lower environmental footprint, such as those made from recycled textiles and agricultural waste.  And we’re partnering with others to find solutions through the Canopy Initiative.
  4. On our interactive map, you can see the factories and suppliers that provide our viscose and other man-made cellulose fibres. 

Responsible wood sourcing

  1. We use wood, paper and pulp in our products, packaging, publications and furniture and we go to great lengths to make sure it’s responsibly sourced.
  2. Our wood sourcing policy prevents our suppliers from sourcing wood or paper from forests with high conservation value and ensures our high standards are being met.

Responsibly sourced beef

  1. We know our beef sourcing doesn’t contribute to deforestation because we only source from the UK and the Republic of Ireland (for our Irish stores). All our beef is DNA traceable so we can trace each pack back to the individual animal and farm it came from. You can find out about our farmers on our interactive map.
  2. We apply rigorous standards to our leather too, and any suppliers sourcing leather from South America must verify that it does not come from cattle reared in the Amazon region.